Inspiration from the Third Dimension

Auguste Rodin - Nude Study for Eustache de Sanint-Pierre

Auguste Rodin – Nude Study for Eustache de Saint-Pierre

I recently had the opportunity to visit the Legion of Honor museum in San Francisco and draw some of the amazing sculptures on exhibit there. It’s always one of my favorite drawing activities when I get the chance. The Legion boasts the world’s largest collections of Rodin sculptures (most famous for his “Thinker” piece) and I always learn something new whenever I draw his work. What a master of gesture! I also had the chance to draw some of the newer pieces at the museum as well, including some gorgeous suits of German armor. Here are some other past drawings from previous visits to the Legion. Enjoy!

another Rodin sculpture, "The Athlete."

Rodin’s “The Athlete.”

and another Rodin, wish I'd recorded the name of this one.

and another Rodin- wish I’d recorded the name of this one.

Aja; Or, ‘How to Paint Polka Dots.’

“AJA”

16″ by 20″, oils on canvas.

I had the pleasure of painting from a live model this past weekend at the atelier school Arte Verissima in Piedmont. The model, Aja wore a great flamenco dress with an intriguing polka dot pattern. I am proud to say that I was the only artist in the room that dared to take on the polka dots. And I’m glad I did! So much of painting and drawing the figure is interpreting their attitude and using it to spice up your picture, like adding salt to a dish. Aja is a wonderful model with a an exuberant personality, and the loud polka dot pattern seemed to reinforce that.

I’m also fairly satisfied with how her face turned out. The weak point of this picture for me is her left arm… I continually struggled with placing it correctly in the socket of her shoulder. It still looks a bit awkward. Oh, the struggles of the artist!

Fire Giant

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“FIRE GIANT”

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I have recently finished the second piece in my Norse series, titled “FIRE GIANT.” I have to admit, I am really excited about this one! I feel like some risks I took in the formative stages of this piece managed to pay off, particularly in the palette knife handling of the snowscape. I wasn’t sure if that would work, and my only guide was a couple of plein air paintings in which I fiddled with the technique. As the paint is adhered rather thickly with a palette knife, it’s not at all forgiving and can result in total disaster very easily.

I’ve also been getting back into drawing the figure recently as well. My old school California College of the Arts has a session that is free to alumni and my schedule has finally allowed me to attend. It’s been a very relaxing and informative exercise- there is so much more to see in a live figure than in a static photograph. More is coming soon!

Observations… and Happy Birthday, Blog!

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Did some sketching over the holidays… Just woodshedding, trying to keep my technical skills sharp.
And my blog is officially two years old! It’s a toddler now, or something akin to that. I hope this continues to be a relevant place to put down my thoughts and ideas. Hopefully, when I’m an old codger this piece of the web will be a rich tapestry, woven with artistic struggle and a bit of creative insight here and there. Thanks for looking!

Drawing Rodin

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Study of Rodin’s “The Athlete.”

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Study of Rodin’s “The Call to Arms.”

Last weekend, I had the pleasure to visit the Legion of Honor museum in San Francsico. The Legion is most definitely my favorite art museum in the Bay Area. I first experienced this hall of grandeur when I was a wee freshman attending California College of the Arts. My life drawing teacher, Mark Eanes gave a homework assignment in which we were asked to draw studies of Rodin sculptures at the museum for six hours. Those six hours were pure magic for me. I’d never really heard of Rodin before and all I really knew was than he sculpted the famous “Thinker.” Once I saw his other works at the Legion, I was blown away. His mastery of form and movement is awe inspiring. There is a deliberate chunkiness that is almost painterly in his sculpture. I always enjoy translating this energy into a study and I learn something new every time!

Drawings from the Wild

I just returned to the modern world from an epic backpacking trip in the South Eastern Sierra Mountains. It was a very inspiring journey and super good for recharging my artistic batteries. Here are a few pen drawings that I managed to scribble down as we trekked through the wilderness.

A Mournful Gesture

I visited the Legion of Honor Museum last week in San Francisco and was pleasantly surprised by their exhibit, “The Mourners.” Although my original intentions were to view the stunning collection of Dutch and Flemish masterworks they had on display (which were of course awe-inspiring), “The Mourners” almost captivated my attention more. A collection of thirty-seven alabaster statues about eighteen inches tall apiece, the Mourners were originally sculpted to accompany a grand tomb for John the Fearless, a Duke of Burgundy, France. Each piece was a stunning display of emotional gesture and incredible drapery. I found the statues with their faces hidden or lowered beneath heavy hoods to be the most striking. There was something about the white purity of the stone and the simplicity of the raw feeling conveyed that was incredible. If you’re a Bay Area resident, it’s a must-see and it’s up until December. Check it out on the Legion’s website, you’ll be glad you did.

Holding Out

 

My latest painting has been driving me a little stir crazy recently… I’ve heaped an ambitious amount of elements together in a single painting and it’s taking quite a bit of time to stitch it all together in a clear manner. To fend off such side effects of painting I’ve been sketching here and there in my little book. The two above are from my travels and are observed from the life. Enjoy!

Buckeye Knoll at the Starry Plough

On Thursday of last week, I got the chance to see Buckeye Knoll, an indie rock group with folk influences play at an Irish pub called The Starry Plough in Berkeley. I arrived just in time to catch their set and got right away to sketching. Here is one of the better pictures of the evening portraying lead singer Doug Streblow. Buckeye Knoll always puts on a rockin’ show and this one was no exception. For more info, check out their website, buckeyeknoll.com

Windy City Episode 2: Places

One of my favorite things about travelling is simply seeing new places. This may seem fairly obvious when exploring an unknown space, but in terms of art it can get rather complicated. I am a firm believer in the theory that in order for creative inspiration to flourish, it requires abundant fuel from the world that surrounds it. Of course, this fuel comes in different forms for different people. In my case, it springs forth from fresh experiences in foreign places. Whenever I travel, I try to imitate a visually oriented sponge as much as possible. Gazing at the intriguing spires of steel and glass scattered throughout downtown Chicago, I felt a shivering sensation as they jolted my creative center. Something about those soaring towers galvanized a new urge to attempt similar forms in my own art. One of my main goals is for architecture and landscape to have a stronger presence in my work. I hope to incorporate these influences more in my future projects!